NASU, others seek payment of N62 billion allowance
The workers, under the auspices of Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Senior Staff Association Nigerian Universities (SSANU) raised worry about the mounting labour issues pending in the sub-sector that the President would confront President-elect Muhammadu Buhari when he takes office.
Speaking after their joint meeting in Abuja, the three unions lamented government continued refusal to implement the 2009 collective bargaining agreements with the unions.
The President of SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, presented the position of the unions as contained in a jointly document signed by the Presidents of NASU, Ladi Iliya and her NAAT counterpart, Sani Sulaiman.
Ugwoke said: “Our members have been agitated over the non-payment of the negotiated and agreed earned allowances particular when the first tranche was paid but not continued without reason. The Implementation Monitoring Committee set up by the Federal Government has been frustrated by government officials.”
He further explained that from over N92 billion earned allowance, the government released N30 billion, leaving the balance of about N62 billion.
He added:“N30 billion was released as part of the Earned Allowance, and about 62 billion is yet to be released. Everything is about N92 billion and you know the N92 billion we are talking about is for July 2009 to June 2012. From July 2012 to date, noting has been said about Earned Allowance except for some university who were able to pay. On the Earned Allowance, government has a lot to do. Why we are shouting is for government to bring the remaining balance of N62 billion which covers from July 2009 to June 2012, then, we can start talking about 2012 till date.”
Even with their discontentment with the attitude of government, the unions insisted they would not issue strike notice.
“So far, we are not giving ultimatum, but we are bringing our frustration to the attention of the government and for the incoming administration to know what we have been passing through. Let it be clear that we are not giving ultimatum now, we know the process of going on strike and at the appropriate time, we shall do that if it becomes absolutely necessary.
“Jonathan government has not done anything for six years. We fought, went on strike on the issue but the government did do anything. The best we had was the release of the N30 billion and the implementation of the retirement age.”
He said the 2009 agreement was due for renegotiations since 2013, but all efforts to bring government to the re-negotiation table have failed.
The unions therefore urged government to constitute its negotiation team for the process to begin.
The SSANU boss also stressed that it is important for government to respect the aspect on staff school in the agreement while the National Universities Commission (NUC) should immediately withdraw its obnoxious circular on the issue, which is causing disquietedness in the varsities.
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